Sufi Women Organization

Welcome to SWO

Sufi Women Organization (SWO) was founded by Dr. Nahid Angha, and established in 1993 under the auspices of the International Association of Sufism, the only Sufi organization recognized as a United Nations NGO/DGC. As a forum of all women, across all backgrounds and faith traditions, SWO has been tremendously successful in gathering and supporting women from diverse backgrounds who share dedication to the protection and advancement of human rights. SWO contributes to many international organizations, including through its own grantmaking initiative, Women’s Wisdom Women in Action Service Appreciation Grants. SWO Membership is open to people of all genders, who support human rights and dignity for all people, especially the women and children of the world. Our members include students, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, therapists, aid workers, professionals, physicians, social workers, community activists, and more. Read Dr. Angha’s Message from the Founder, and article “Women in Islam,” as well as SWO’s Code of Ethics and Open Letter to World Leaders.

* Read the Sufi Women Organization’s 2024 Message from the Founder.

No individual stands alone; we cannot underestimate the strength and determination of the women of our past,
who began a journey toward women’s equality long ago, nor should we underestimate
the women of the world who continue to keep a peaceful transformation alive in our communities.

– Dr. Nahid Angha

Celebrating 30 Year of SWO

Stay tuned for more events
coming in the Fall 2024!

Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action
Service Appreciation Grant

The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action program established in 1999 by Dr. Nahid Angha, is offering Annual Service Appreciation Grants. Service Appreciation Grants honor and support those who have shown excellence in the following areas:

        • Significantly improving the quality of life of women through social programs: health care, employment, and conflict resolution

        • Advocating to reduce poverty among women

        • Improving gender equality in public and/or private life

        • Promoting women’s and girls’ right to access education

The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action Service Appreciation Grant program is designed to honor and support the work of a woman or a women-led organization in rural neighborhoods. Nominations for candidates is solicited and invited solely by the Women in Action program. All candidates must be nominated by a colleague(s) or by an individual(s) who has come to understand the work of the woman or women-led organization, and all nominees are reviewed by a panel of judges. Previous recipients include:

Featured Grantee

Solange Aquino, Portugal

THEATRE Project: Solange Aquino from Portugal, a current recipient of the WWWIA grant, has also been a grantee in 2018 for her work with African immigrant families and children. She created the “Youth on the Move” group, which developed volunteer activities and education within the community to care for small children while their mothers attended literacy classes. Solange also helped  members of the community with financial independence by helping them in creating and selling their art and jewelry. Solange is currently working with young (African) mothers in parenting training, including THEATRE for women, to facilitate both therapy and conflict resolution. The group is currently composed of 15 women and 22 children. Solange hopes to return with her group to her home country (Cape Verde) and present THEATRE to other women who need to believe that they can break the circle of poverty, violence and child abuse. SWO proudly supports the work that Solange is doing to serve her community and help to empower women and their children.

Join Us: Become a Member of SWO

Becoming a member of the Sufi Women Organization is a wonderful way to connect with a truly diverse group of like-minded people from around the world and across faiths while supporting the many humanitarian, social service projects of SWO. Participate with us in supporting the rights, lives and wellbeing of women, girls, families and communities around the world. Membership is open to all, and men are encouraged to join.

Support Women’s Rights * Education * Health Awareness * Clean Water & Immunizations * Women in Action Service Appreciation Grants
Annual Membership

Women’s Wisdom Women In Action
Speaker Series

Under the direction of Dr. Nahid Angha, the Sufi Women Organization hosts a semi-annual speaker presentation program, Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action. Through this program, SWO honors leaders, activists, and humanitarians who have provided exemplary services. SWO seeks to bring people together to learn, to build community, and to cultivate ways of living and working oriented toward dignity, health and service.  See some of SWO’s featured speakers below, and learn more about the full program.  We hope you’ll join us at an upcoming event!  Click here to sign up for IAS newsletters, including SWO’s monthly email newsletter.

Featured Speaker Series Event

* A portion of event proceeds supported SWO’s 2022 Gifts of Peace Donation Drive.  Thank you to all who attended, and we hope you will join us in 2023!

In November, The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action program sponsored an event in our ongoing women’s health series featuring speakers Kahontakwas Diane Longboat and Belvie Rooks, longtime humanitarian activists and friends. Diane is a ceremonial leader, educator, spiritual activist, and traditional teacher from the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan.  Belvie is a writer, educator, film producer, social and environmental justice advocate. Belvie and her husband, the poet and activist Dedan Gills, formed a deep relationship with Diane through a shared commitment to peace, healing, restoration of the earth, and respect for indigenous wisdom.

Featured Books

A Force Such as the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change is a unique collection of narratives from women from around the globe. Stories of compassion and bravery, empowered by the vision of a better world for all life highlighting women’s wisdom.

The first volume of a series dedicated to the life stories and works of the Sufi women, in this case written by the women themselves. This volume forms a collection of the writings by selected Sufi women of the present time, from four different cultures and six Sufi turuq and Orders.

A glimpse at life stories, the poetry, and prayers of Sufis Khvajeh Abdullah Ansari, Hakim Omar Khayyam, Khvajeh Shamsuddin Mohammad Hafiz, Moulana Jalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), Moulana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, and Ezzeddin Nasafi.

The wisdom sayings and selected teachings of Dr. Nahid Angha drawn from numerous sources and organized into categories including: Nature, Life, Heart, Longing, Love, Peace, Meditation and Transformation, The Journey, and Spiritual Discipline.

SWO Council

Nahid Angha, Ph.D., a Sufi scholar and an author, is a co-director of the International Association of Sufism (IAS), executive editor of the quarterly journal, Sufism: An Inquiry,  and founder of the International Sufi Women Organization. She is the main representative of IAS to the United Nations NGO/DPI. She is a human rights activist who has created an ongoing humanitarian work that includes supporting clean water projects and medical services in refugee areas, educational scholarships, grant awards assisting women-owned small businesses, and promoting education and equity for women and girls in rural areas. She has been a university professor, featured in numerous books and collections, served in various leadership roles in interfaith organizations, and is an inductee to the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame.
Leili First, Ph.D., is a charter member of Sufi Women Organization. She has given talks on Sufism and Women in Islam at colleges and universities, at the Annual Sufism Symposium and at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Dr. First is a long-time activist and supporter of women’s and human rights. She has served on the Marin Interfaith Council, and as an SWO representative at the United Nations meeting of NGOs. From SWO’s inception she has actively supported programs and projects in support of the rights of women, in the local community and around the world.  She holds a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies.
Mary Granick, MFT, with clients in both California and New Mexico, is a member of the SWO Council, a student of Uwaiysi Sufism and a member of the International Association of Sufism. She has contributed articles in the SPF Newsletter and the journal, Sufism: An Inquiry. She is one of the co-authors of the book, Human Self, Volume I: Body. She has presented her work with Sufism and Psychology at various retreats in the Bay Area. Mary is grateful for the opportunities to serve on various committees and programs for the International Association of Sufism, and for the wisdom and dedication of her teachers, Dr. Nahid Angha, and Dr. Ali Kianfar, who for her, are the perfect mirror of living a life dedicated to humanity and a love for the divine.

Arife Hammerle, Ph.D. holds a Juris Doctorate and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has extensive experience working with clients on relationship development, self growth and communication issues in the Community Healing Centers program affiliated with the International Association of Sufism. She has written many articles and is frequently called upon to give lectures and lead workshops in psycho-spiritual knowledge, Sufi Principles and Practices and Meditation. Dr. Hammerle is a member of the SWO Council. Her work has always focused on social change for the advancement of women and girls. She is a member of the International Association of Sufism and a student of Sufism and an accomplished author who has completed research linking psychology and spirituality.

Elizabeth Miller, Ph.D., is a student of Uwaiysi Sufism under the guidance of Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. She is a member of the Sufi Women Organization Council, and under Dr. Angha’s leadership helps to support the Women’s Wisdom Women in Action Service Appreciation grant program and speaker series. She also serves on the editorial team for Sufism: An Inquiry.  She has a background in science and works as an educator, assessment specialist and book editor. She is co-founder of a Bay Area educational nonprofit and an instructor at Dominican University of California in the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Sarah Hastings Mullin, Ph.D. is a member of the Sufi Women Organization council and a member of the International Association of Sufism. Having attended all girls’ schools and a women’s college she recognizes the gift she received in being well supported and empowered throughout her life and since has felt called to support other women. She is a clinical psychologist with a private practice. Her clinical interests include increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, especially for women, pregnancy/post partum, anxiety and existential/transpersonal explorations. Her dissertation and subsequent publications have focused on the potential for higher states of self-development and direct knowing as taught by Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. She holds a second-degree black belt in Aikido.

Amineh Amelia Pryor, Ph.D., has been an active member of SWO since its inception. She serves on the planning council and has been involved in many SWO and other humanitarian and service-oriented projects and programs. Dr. Pryor has a background in community-based mental health and is the co-director of the Community Healing Centers, a non-profit psychotherapy practice in San Francisco and Marin. She is an international presenter on Sufism and psychology and has published books and written numerous articles on psychology, spirituality, and science.

Nancy Roybal has been active member of the SWO Council from 2012 to the present under the guidance of Dr. Nahid Angha, founder of the Sufi Women Organization (SWO), a department of the International Association of Sufism.  She is the editor of the Sufi Women Quarterly Newsletter. She has served on the Harvest fundraising committee, and supports the recipients of the Women’s Wisdom Women in Action service appreciation grant program. Nancy is a key member of the Women Wisdom Women in Action lecture series committee and the Marin Interfaith Council board of directors. She is a women’s rights activist with a long history of promoting active relationships with international humanitarian organizations.